Eating healthy is an important part of being a successful athlete. Having a strong performance during a game is more than just training and keeping in shape. Your body gets support from the nutrition that you eat. “I always feel the benefits whenever I eat a healthy balanced meal before a game,” said eighth grader Anna Kopfler. Keeping hydrated, well rested, and well fed. Will help to boost your performance levels and lead you to play better in games.
Playing directly after eating is never a good way to start your game. It can cause you to feel uncomfortable, tired and can slow you down. It also doesn’t provide you more energy because most of the food will not have enough time to digest until the game is over. “I make sure not to over eat before a game because I don’t want to get cramps and or tired during the match,” said eighth grader Houdah Daniels. On the other hand, eating nothing before a game can make you feel empty, tired and can lead to stomach pains. You won’t have any energy to push you, and your body will start weakening.
According to the National Health Services (NHS) website, the ideal meal is having some protein, carbohydrates and vegetables a couple of hours before the game starts. Carbohydrates are crucial for a game because they allow you the fuel for energy production. Proteins will help to build and repair your muscles after the game, so eating these are very important for your diet. “I would typically have a protein bar full of nuts to give me energy before the game,” said eighth grader Eddie Gualandri.
Keeping hydrated is also such an important part in keeping healthy for a game. Within two hours before a game you should typically drink 12-20 ounces of water. Water acts as a body cooling system, so if dehydrated your body will feel drained and ill. Depending on what you eat it could affect your performance and how you participate throughout the game.
A good sustainable meal will allow about 60 minutes of high intensity action. This means running on a field or court for a constant 60 minutes, not light training. If some games last more than this, eating snacks that will be digested quickly will allow a boost of energy.
Make sure that your snack does not have a lot of fats and protein. These will weigh you down when you continue playing as it takes a while for the food to be digested in your body. Bananas and oranges or a small amount of carbs are good things to eat during the game.
The NHS website says that it is best to drink lots of fluids during long breaks such as water and sports drinks. Eighth grader Anna Heinrich said, “I eat a banana for energy and drink lots of water so I keep hydrated.”
After a game the NHS says that the most essential thing to do it re-hydrate. You need to regain all those fluids you lost while playing. You also should have a balanced nutritious meal. This includes some type of complex carbohydrate such as most vegetables, oats and types of grains. It also includes proteins to help repair muscles that were used in the game. If you are still on the bus home from a game or practice try to eat a balanced amount of snacks. Overloading yourself with snacks can cause you to feel sick and uncomfortable. Depending on the time of day the workout meals could vary. Always make sure you that you have a balanced meal of carbs and proteins to stay healthy and play your best.